Block Copolymers: Synthesis, Self-Assembly, and Biomedical Applications

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 5118

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Chemin des Verdiers 4, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: polymer synthesis; block copolymers; star polymers; stimuli-responsive polymers; drug delivery; protein delivery; polymeric biomaterials; supramolecular polymers

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Guest Editor
Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie 34, 41-819 Zabrze, Poland
Interests: RAFT polymerization; block copolymers; stimuli-responsive polymers; functionalized polymers; drug-delivery; bioimaging; protein delivery
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Chemistry, Queen's University, 90 Bader Lane, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
Interests: self-assembly; coatings; materials science; supramolecular chemistry; block copolymers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Block copolymers are a particularly interesting class of polymers that can be synthesized by various synthetic strategies and point towards new, emerging applications. The development of controlled polymerization methods enables scientists to polymerize a wide range of functional monomers with precise control over the macromolecular architecture.

The incorporation of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic blocks, or blocks that have the ability to respond to various external stimuli (temperature, pH, light, enzyme/protein concentration etc.), can lead to novel polymeric materials with tailored properties.

Amphiphilic block copolymers have the ability to self-assemble into different morphologies, such as micelles, rods, worms, or vesicles, when dispersed into aqueous media. Stimuli-responsive copolymers can also change their properties upon alteration of certain physicochemical parameters. These morphologies can be further utilized in several biomedical applications (drug delivery, nucleic acids/proteins delivery, etc.).

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight the recent progress in block copolymers synthesis, as well as to investigate their self-assembly properties along with their biomedical applications.

Dr. Athanasios Skandalis
Dr. Theodore Sentoukas
Dr. Ian Wyman
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • polymer synthesis
  • block copolymers
  • stimuli-responsive polymers
  • functionalized polymers
  • biodegradable polymers
  • biocompatible polymers
  • self-assembly
  • drug delivery
  • bioimaging
  • protein delivery

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 1723 KiB  
Article
Intranasal Ion-Triggered In Situ Delivery System of Virus-like Particles: Development Using the Quality by Design Approach
by Elena O. Bakhrushina, Iosif B. Mikhel, Valeriya M. Kondratieva, Irina M. Zubareva, Svetlana I. Kosenkova, Anastasiya V. Belyatskaya, Olga I. Stepanova, Ivan I. Krasnyuk, Jr., Tatyana V. Grebennikova and Ivan I. Krasnyuk
Polymers 2024, 16(5), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16050685 - 2 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1046
Abstract
The rapid growth in the prevalence of infectious diseases requires timely action from drug developers. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the unpreparedness of the population for such emergencies. The introduction of modern methods of Design of Experiments (DoE) is required [...] Read more.
The rapid growth in the prevalence of infectious diseases requires timely action from drug developers. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the unpreparedness of the population for such emergencies. The introduction of modern methods of Design of Experiments (DoE) is required to accelerate the process of drug development and bring a drug to market. The main objective of this study was to develop an ion-triggered in situ system for intranasal delivery of VLP using a Quality by Design approach. Based on a literature review and initial studies, the key QTPP, CQA, CPP, and CMA were identified to develop a novel delivery system for virus-like particles. As a result of the studies on the quality attributes of the developed delivery system, an ion-triggered in situ gel meeting all the specified parameters was obtained using the Quality by Design method. Full article
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21 pages, 3982 KiB  
Article
S/N/O-Enriched Carbons from Polyacrylonitrile-Based Block Copolymers for Selective Separation of Gas Streams
by Diego Gómez-Díaz, Lidia Domínguez-Ramos, Giulio Malucelli, María Sonia Freire, Julia González-Álvarez and Massimo Lazzari
Polymers 2024, 16(2), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16020269 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
A series of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based block copolymers with poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as sacrificial bock were synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization and used as precursors for the synthesis of porous carbons. The carbons enriched with O- and S-containing groups, introduced by controlled oxidation [...] Read more.
A series of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based block copolymers with poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as sacrificial bock were synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization and used as precursors for the synthesis of porous carbons. The carbons enriched with O- and S-containing groups, introduced by controlled oxidation and sulfuration, respectively, were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectrometry, and their surface textural properties were measured by a volumetric analyzer. We observed that the presence of sulfur tends to modify the structure of the carbons, from microporous to mesoporous, while the use of copolymers with a range of molar composition PAN/PMMA between 10/90 and 47/53 allows the obtainment of carbons with different degrees of porosity. The amount of sacrificial block only affects the morphology of carbons stabilized in oxygen, inducing their nanostructuration, but has no effect on their chemical composition. We also demonstrated their suitability for separating a typical N2/CO2 post-combustion stream. Full article
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15 pages, 2444 KiB  
Article
Thermoresponsive Property of Poly(N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide) and Its Copolymers with Water-Soluble Poly(N,N-disubstituted acrylamide) Prepared Using Hydrosilylation-Promoted Group Transfer Polymerization
by Xiangming Fu, Yanqiu Wang, Liang Xu, Atsushi Narumi, Shin-ichiro Sato, Xiaoran Yang, Xiande Shen and Toyoji Kakuchi
Polymers 2023, 15(24), 4681; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15244681 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 939
Abstract
The group-transfer polymerization (GTP) of N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide (MOEAm) initiated by Me2EtSiH in the hydrosilylation-promoted method and by silylketene acetal (SKA) in the conventional method proceeded in a controlled/living manner to provide poly(N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide) (PMOEAm) and PMOEAm [...] Read more.
The group-transfer polymerization (GTP) of N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide (MOEAm) initiated by Me2EtSiH in the hydrosilylation-promoted method and by silylketene acetal (SKA) in the conventional method proceeded in a controlled/living manner to provide poly(N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide) (PMOEAm) and PMOEAm with the SKA residue at the α-chain end (MCIP-PMOEAm), respectively. PMOEAm-b-poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide) (PDMAm) and PMOEAm-s-PDMAm and PMOEAm-b-poly(N,N-bis(2-ethoxyethyl)acrylamide) (PEOEAm) and PMOEAm-s-PEOEAm were synthesized by the block and random group-transfer copolymerization of MOEAm and N,N-dimethylacrylamide or N,N-bis(2-ethoxyethyl)acrylamide. The homo- and copolymer structures affected the thermoresponsive properties; the cloud point temperature (Tcp) increasing by decreasing the degree of polymerization (x). The chain-end group in PMOEAm affected the Tcp with PMOEAmx > MCIP-PMOEAmx. The Tcp of statistical copolymers was higher than that of block copolymers, with PMOEAmx-s-PDMAmy > PMOEAmx-b-PDMAmy and PMOEAmx-s-PEOEAmy > PMOEAmx-b-PEOEAmy. Full article
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12 pages, 6919 KiB  
Article
Morphological Evolution of Hybrid Block Copolymer Particles: Toward Magnetic Responsive Particles
by Jaeman J. Shin
Polymers 2023, 15(18), 3689; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15183689 - 7 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1013
Abstract
The co-assembly of block copolymers (BCPs) and inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) under emulsion confinement allows facile access to hybrid polymeric colloids with controlled hierarchical structures. Here, the effect of inorganic NPs on the structure of the hybrid BCP particles and the local distribution of [...] Read more.
The co-assembly of block copolymers (BCPs) and inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) under emulsion confinement allows facile access to hybrid polymeric colloids with controlled hierarchical structures. Here, the effect of inorganic NPs on the structure of the hybrid BCP particles and the local distribution of NPs are studied, with a particular focus on comparing Au and Fe3O4 NPs. To focus on the effect of the NP core, Au and Fe3O4 NPs stabilized with oleyl ligands were synthesized, having a comparable diameter and grafting density. The confined co-assembly of symmetric polystyrene-b-poly(1,4-butadiene) (PS-b-PB) BCPs and NPs in evaporative emulsions resulted in particles with various morphologies including striped ellipsoids, onion-like particles, and their intermediates. The major difference in PS-b-PB/Au and PS-b-PB/Fe3O4 particles was found in the distribution of NPs inside the particles that affected the overall particle morphology. Au NPs were selectively localized inside PB domains with random distributions regardless of the particle morphology. Above the critical volume fraction, however, Au NPs induced the morphological transition of onion-like particles into ellipsoids by acting as an NP surfactant. For PS-b-PB/Fe3O4 ellipsoids, Fe3O4 NPs clustered and segregated to the particle/surrounding interface of the ellipsoids even at a low volume fraction, while Fe3O4 NPs were selectively localized in the middle of PB domains in a string-like pattern for PS-b-PB/Fe3O4 onion-like particles. Full article
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